Our Annual “Black Friday Special Offer” runs from Friday, Nov. 24 through Monday, Nov. 27. During these 4 days, purchase any of our programs offered (Including MST) and we will gift wrap it in time for the holidays. You’ll receive a camp certificate and free gift for under the tree. All of our 2018 events will be ON SALE at Early Bird Pricing as well. Programs will be announced on Black Friday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Click National Camps and Regional Services pages to learn more.
October 6, 2017
2017 MST camps announced
Register now for the 2017 GDI Midwest and GDI Southeast Mid Season Tune Up camps December 27-29 in Chicago and Washington DC. CLICK HERE to visit the info and registration page.
September 19, 2017
Honick named Chicago Mission Director of Goaltending
GDI USA President Ryan Honick has been named Director of Goaltending and Goaltending Coach for the HPHL Chicago Mission for the 2017-2018 season. Ryan will oversee and coach all 12 teams in the organization. CLICK HERE to read the press release.
February 10, 2017
InGoal Coaching the Coaches part 11
We are proud to announce part 11 of a series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part 11 in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI USA. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
Click on the above National Camps and Regional Services tabs for 2017 dates and locations.
November 25, 2016
Black Friday Special Offer
Give the Gift of More Saves!
Our Annual “Black Friday Special Offer” runs from Friday, Nov. 25 through Monday, Nov. 28. During these 4 days, purchase any of our programs offered (Including MST) and we will gift wrap it in time for the holidays. You’ll receive a camp certificate and free gift for under the tree. All of our events are ON SALE at Early Bird Pricing as well. Contact Ryan (email@example.com) for any questions. Happy Thanksgiving!
October 5, 2016
Vaughn / Goalies Plus / GDI USA
We are proud to offer a unique 3-way partnership between Vaughn, Goalies Plus pro shop, and GDI USA.
Receive 15% OFF All Vaughn Gear (Stock and Custom) at Goalies Plus through your GDI USA discount.
We know that there are many great gear manufacturing companies and pro shops to select from when purchasing equipment. Vaughn has a reputation for quality and performance and Goalies Plus has a reputation for great customer service and selection. We encourage you to consider Vaughn gear from Goalies Plus and have made sure to put an unbelievable deal on the table for our clients. Contact Goalies Plus owner Mike Sherman directly at (800) 599-2440 for ordering and be sure to tell him you are a GDI USA goalie.
Click on the logos above to visit their websites.
Shutouts for Seizures
GDI USA is proud to partner with Shutouts for Seizures (SoS) and the CURE foundation. SoS Founder Amelia Murray is one of our students and young coaches. At select camps this past summer, we shared initial information about the program with the promise of more info to follow. To kick off our 2016/2017 season and into our 2017 summer programs, we want to encourage you to partner with Amelia. Learn more below and get started right away. Let’s make the pledge and give every game everything you’ve got because a shutout is much more than a shutout: a shutout is one step closer to finding a cure! Contact Amelia directly for questions, her info is below.
Dear GDI USA family,
My name is Amelia Murray – I am a Chicago Young Americans AAA Girls hockey alumni, and I am currently a freshman goalie in the Women’s Division I Hockey Team at Union College as well. #GoDutch! I am writing to you about a fundraising initiative, called Shutouts for Seizures, my dad & I came up with 4 years ago after a close family member of mine was diagnosed with epilepsy. My hope is to get as many people as possible to support Shutouts for Seizures and to implement the initiative at your rinks with your teams!
Let me first start off by explaining what seizures and epilepsy are: A seizure is when the normal pattern of electrical charges in one’s brain is interrupted by sudden and unusually intense bursts of electrical energy which may cause strange sensations, emotions, behaviors or convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Epilepsy is when a person has two or more seizures which have not been provoked by specific events such as trauma, infection, fever, or chemical change. Shutouts for Seizures (SoS) is a fundraising initiative that occurs all hockey season long in efforts to raise seizure and epilepsy awareness alongside donations for research in hopes of one day finding a cure.
How it works:
At the beginning of the season, (now is the time, ladies and gentleman!) you will ask your hockey team’s families and friends if they would like to pledge to donate a certain denomination of money for SoS. Every time your team earns a shutout, the donations are earned as well. A shutout is an awesome goalie accomplishment (this is coming from a goalie herself), but we all know a shutout is not earned by only the goalie: all of the shot-blocking, covering your player, making a great save, tips, or just being a great teammate contribute to getting that big 0 up on the scoreboard. A shutout is determined by the whole team working as one cohesive unit. This is why SoS promotes a TEAM first – all in attitude in hockey to celebrate not only a goalie accomplishment but a team accomplishment as well. (But feel free to give your goalie a pat on the back, too! )
A donation to SoS can be as small or as big as you would like – any little bit goes a long way, and we appreciate all of it. The donations are not collected on a game-basis but instead are collected at two different points in the season (halfway – end of December, and at the end – end of March/beginning of April). All donations go to Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) that is based in Chicago and is solely dedicated to epilepsy and seizure research.
Over my four years playing with the Chicago Young Americans (CYA) girls program, with what started out as being as little as a dollar per shutout, Shutouts for Seizures has now raised an excess of $30,000 in just over four years – all donated by members of the CYA family to help find a cure. I would like to give a big thank you to all of CYA for their utmost generosity and kindness with Shutouts for Seizures and thank you for being a part of my family.
This year, we are taking Shutouts for Seizures to the collegiate level at Union College’s Division I hockey program in Schenectady, New York with plans of expanding to numerous other colleges across the country. Along with our collegiate plans, this is the first year that CYA will have all four of their girls’ teams participating in SoS, and Goaltender Development Institute (GDI) coaches Ryan Honick and Sanya Sandahl hope to reach their 3,000+ goalies (and their teams) nationwide with the SoS initiative at the youth hockey level.
So, my challenge to all of you is this: make the pledge and give every game everything you’ve got because a shutout is much more than a shutout: a shutout is one step closer to finding a cure.
To register your team (under your goalie’s name) at SoS, please click here.
For more information on epilepsy, seizures, and the CURE Foundation, please click here.
To view my SoS page with Union College (which is still under construction) please click here.
Thank you so much for your time and I cannot wait to make you a part of the SoS Family!!
Winter 2016. For our Newsletter each quarter we will reach out to a different goaltender for the “Quarterly 5 (Q5)”. Asking 5 questions in an effort to examine the unique perspectives they have on their games.
For our 10th installment of the Q5, we turn our attention to the USHL Green Bay Gamblers’ 1997 born Slovakian, Adam Huska. We are not the only ones; as during his second year with the team, Adam has amassed quit the resume. Leading the league in 3 goaltending categories at the time of print and considering his performance at the 2016 World Junior Championships with Slovakia’s National Under 20 team, Adam will have his pick of Division 1 schools to attend when he is ready. In June, he was selected to the New York Rangers in the 7th round of the NHL Draft, and they couldn’t be more pleased with his recent success. A young man of…not many words, we bring you the Q5, with Adam Huska!
Q1: You are clearly comfortable and confident here on the team and in the country. Having been here for only a short while, how have you adjusted so quickly?
A: I am a smart and funny guy. It’s been easy for me.
Q2: What are the differences between the US and Slovakian hockey philosophy and goalie training styles.
A: I think hockey is the same everywhere in the world, but just the players are different.
Q3: How do you describe your game now? What has changed since arriving in Green Bay?
A: I want to play how I feel. I am just focusing on a lot of details better than last season.
Q4: With the USHL seemingly unable to crack you, have you done all that you can at this level and what is the next step for your development?
A: I want to play Division 1 college hockey for the next couple of years. But first the Clark Cup!
Q5: Every kid dreams of playing in the National Hockey League. Having been drafted now, has that always been the end goal? How do you think that you will reach and stay in the NHL?
A: Yes it is my dream play in the NHL. Being drafted doesn’t mean the end for me. There is much work to be done still.
Thanks for the super simple responses Adam! If you know him, you know this was a fun interview. With more success on the horizon, we wish you all the best. Follow Adam @ADAM_HUSKA on Instagram.
Coach Honick w/ Kevin Reich, Jason Pawloski, and Adam Huska in 15/16
February 20, 2016
InGoal Coaching the Coaches part 10
We are proud to announce part 10 of a series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part ten in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI USA. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, our 2016 National Development Camp dates and locations have changed. We are very sorry for any inconvenience. The nature of these camps being held at University facilities comes with unique challenges that GDI USA cannot control. We have worked hard to secure two great new venues. We will provide an even better experience for all at this year’s events. We will personally contact previously registered participants within days of this announcement. Please contact Ryan Honick at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions. Thank you!
We’re proud to build on our inaugural program. We’ve shortened the number of sessions to 9 and kept them at a single venue. Expanded curriculum will be created. Our emphasis is on fundamental and highly advanced strategic technical and tactical growth. Build proper details and habits now, so that they may develop throughout the off-season and be implemented by the next season.
We are proud to announce Part 9 of a new series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part nine in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI USA. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
[Revised 10/29] You only get one chance to make a first impression… and we made a splash. With 2 National Camps, 5 Regional Camps, and PRO Consulting, our 1st summer under the USA brand was jammed packed with opportunities for each of our goaltenders to develop. All goalies should be provided with ELITE coaching and development. We work hard to create programs for every level and type of goaltender, and this summer did just that. Over 175 male and female goaltenders ranging from mite house to AAA midget and Junior A to professional levels enjoyed time in the nets with us this summer.
“I just want to thank you for such a great camp. I had a great time. It was by far the best camp I have ever attended. I feel that I developed a lot as a goalie and that it got me in good shape for the upcoming season. I will defiantly be there next year. Thank you.” Jon Mor – HPHL Chicago Young Americans U16 AAA. Jon attended our GDI WEST camp at the University of Wisconsin.
The inaugural WEST camp was just one highlight of the summer. We kicked it all off in July by putting the Wayne, NJ camp on for a 2nd year. This smaller group included some surprisingly good young goaltenders and we were joined by 2 Jersey Hitmen goalies that helped us coach and bring their personal experience to the forefront. We then conducted our 4th annual NDC at Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, CT. A sell out event, the facilities offered our students the second to none experience of a week filled with development and exposure, as our staff again included the school’s Strength & Conditioning Coach Brijesh Patel. “Coach B” delivered new and challenging workouts as his focus is to educate the group on how and what to train, not just to break a sweat. We were joined by long time friend Dan Stewart, owner of the CT Crease Canada in Toronto, GDI legend Bryan Mountain, and 3 time ECHL Goalie of the Year Jeff Jakaitis would demonstrate each drill to begin the sessions. USA Hockey’s Brennan Poderzay gave the guys insight to the USNTDP, Coach Ted Monnich knocked it out of the park with 5 new Mental Game discussions, and our snipers on the ice were having a tough time putting pucks past the 36 goalies in attendance. Those students haled from 15 different states as we continue to draw a very diverse audience.
The following week included our 1st ever girls/women only event in Chicago as well as our annual Washington DC/Baltimore camp. Our overfilled “For girls; By girls” camp was a real hit with the ladies. Directed by our very own Sanya Sandahl and USA Hockey’s Lucy Schoedel, the week transpired into more than just drills and workouts, but rather the 1st time Chicago’s best female goalies assembled, bonded, and had fun together. Giving them a chance to learn from one another and create a culture that greatly lacks, thanks to area politics and blood feuds between clubs. This was one of coach Sanya’s main objectives, one she has achieved in her home state of MN.
“I know it took quite some time, after putting in long hours, to complete an eval for each goalie at camp. You are the only coach, we’ve met, who goes above and beyond like that to help reinforce what needs to be improved upon and to acknowledge strengths from a coaching perspective. I know Sara truly enjoyed camp, learned much to take back with her, all while being taught by positive role models. Couldn’t ask for more than that! Hope you will continue this camp in the future.” Rebecca Glawe, mother of Sara – Madison Capitols U16 AAA. Sara attended our GDI Midwest Girls Camp
Meanwhile in MD, the faithful returned for an 8th summer of development. Joined by young instructors playing at peak levels, Coach Jay Chrapala led the groups through a rigorous training regimen. We are proud to call DC our original home and continue to expand programming in the Southeast.
The first week of August gave goalies in the Chicagoland area a camp like no other they had experienced, as we launched our first summer at the Edge Ice Arena. From USHL Chicago Steel Strength Coach Virgil Strzelecki’s demanding fitness, to Coach Rutledge’s grueling PSM Circuit, our kids got better; and that’s the sole purpose for attending a goalie camp. Again, a young staff of goalies that play at elite levels of the game joined us; inspired our groups. Learning from these guys is a real treat, as they are the tangible proof of our structure and philosophy.
Our big debut of GDI WEST was up next. The success of EAST and abundance of Midwestern attendees afforded us the opportunity to expand to the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. The consensus vote from coaches and students that had now experienced both was that the Kohl Center and set up in WI was even better than Quinnipiac’s TD Bank Sport Center and accommodations. We strive to improve all that we do and were pleased to have accomplished this goal. Currently featured Q5 subject Keegan Asmundson demonstrated all on ice drills this week. But he was slightly over shadowed by NHL St. Louis Blues goalie and Badger alumni Brian Elliott, who skated with us (in full gear) each day! Brian had been training on his own at the rink and was excited to join our impressionable young goalies for his own selfish reasons of preparation; but he was awesome with our guys, providing insight, helping to motivate, talking shop, and even signing autographs while with us. That was a one of a kind experience. We were also honored to be joined by so many pro players shooting on our goalies, as many WI alumni call Madison home. The 33 goalies that joined us were pushed hard during the week, as D1 and USHL scouts intriguingly looked on, Wisconsin Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim Snider demanded maximum detail in the gym. For a 1st effort at this new venue, we were thrilled to welcome so many goalies and believe the camp to be even better next summer, as we have set our 2016 return dates.
York, PA pulled the straw of last camp on the east coast by receiving a Regional Camp directed by Coach Jay Chrapala. He was joined by Goalies Plus owner Mike Sherman as the two of them set the stage for the coming seasons’ work with our affiliated club, the York Devils. Rare beginners were joined by seasoned vets as the groups were introduced to the guidelines for what Jay and Mike will continue progressing during the year.
Lastly, the objective of providing training to ALL goaltenders would not be complete without offering a program to our Junior, Collegiate, and Professional students. The 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks’ practice home, Johnny’s Ice House, would play host to our annual PRO Consulting event. Joined by USHL Dubuque Fighting Saints Assistant Coach/Goalie Coach Matt Millar, Ryan Honick worked 1 on 1 with USPHL, NAHL, USHL, OHL, B1G, NCHC, and Hockey East goalies. Preparing an elite goaltender for battle is no different than working with an aspiring youth; it starts with simple fundamental movements and saves before diving into advanced theory and concept. Holding the event in Chicago afforded local talent, and devoted students that traveled in, the chance to work with two elite USHL Goalie Coaches. We look to expand this program next summer.
We would like to thank everyone involved for being a part of this great 1st summer under the USA brand. From the attending students, the incredible staff, our strength trainers, yoga instructors, each rink and hospitality facility and staff, and our shooters, thank you! Our partners have earned special acknowledgement. Thanks to Brian’s Custom Goal for our jerseys, Under Armour for our apparel, Goalies Plus for our awards, Anchor Pegs and Edge ProTech for making our drills better, Vaughn Custom Sports for demonstrating at GDI WEST, Vizual Edge who presented at our Chicago Boys and Girls camps, Guiding Future Stars who presented at our Washington camp, InGoal Magazine for all they do, and the parents who support their sons and daughters dreams, thank you for making 2015 a huge success.
Media can now be found on this site, including the below links:
For our Newsletter each quarter we will reach out to a different goaltender for the “Quarterly 5 (Q5)”. Asking 5 questions in an effort to examine the unique perspectives they have on their games.
In our 9th installment we talked with Keegan Asmundson, a long time friend, student, and coach of ours. We are proud to announce that Keegan will be playing his first full year of professional hockey in the ECHL. After finishing school at Canisius College last season, he was brought into the Washington Capitals system, spending time with their AHL and ECHL affiliates. The Buffalo Sabres invited him to their September rookie camp. Then the Toronto Maple Leafs required his services with their AHL team, the Marlies. Signed since August with their ECHL affiliate, the Orlando Solarbears, Keegan has since been traded to the Evansville Icemen, the ECHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators. These teams are all more than intrigued by Keegan’s 6’5” frame and passive style of play. Bread into the GDI philosophy since his Minnesota high school playing days, Keegan has enjoyed success and adversity, as have so many quality goaltenders. Light hearted yet full of fire; let’s now bring you the Q5, with Keegan Asmundson!
Q1: Let’s start with the obvious question; what’s it been like to put yourself on display for 4 NHL teams in a 7 month stretch? We know you have a sarcastic goal of playing in all 30 teams’ organizations.
A: Lots of traveling! It has been a great experience these past 7 months and I have been learning what it takes to be a pro. As an undrafted free agent leaving Canisius I had the opportunity to make my professional debut with the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays last year. Coming from college where I knew everyone for 4 years to being the new guy was a little challenging but fellow GDI USA guy, Jeff Jakitas was there, and I was lucky enough to have him take me under his wing and give me some advice. Thanks again Jacko! From there I went up to the Hershey Bears in the AHL for a month. I also attended Washington’s development camp after the draft. From there I went to Buffalo Sabers rookie camp in September and then spent some time at the NHL training camp. It was great to be back in Buffalo. Next was a quick stop at Toronto Marlies camp, then a quick turnaround, driving 24 hours down to sunny Orlando, Florida. I was recently traded and drove another 13 hours to Evansville, Indiana.
Q2: With each team you have come across a different goalie coach tasked with shaping their club’s puckstoppers emerges. How does a goalie try to play the game that has got them to that point, while staying open minded to what they have to offer?
A: Every goalie coach I have worked with since I turned pro has basically the same teaching principle, simplify the game. Both the goalie and goalie coach have got to the pro ranks for a reason and I have been lucky enough to pick each guy’s brain on various goaltending topics. I had Mitch Korn, Olaf Kolzig, and Scott Murray in Washington and Andrew Allen and Bob Janosz in Buffalo. I’m a big believer in always trying to learn. If it’s one small thing or 30 things, I can take that knowledge and apply it to my game, making myself a better goalie and help the team win more games. The day you stop trying to make your game better is the day you could be without a job. There is not much left to learn when it comes to basic movement like t-pushes and shuffles at the professional level, only daily maintenance.
Q3: You have worked with many of our GDI USA affiliated coaches throughout your career. From your time with the NAHL Austin Bruins, where Elliott Hogue guided you, 3 years spent with Canisius coach John Daigneau to lean on, consulting with current USHL Dubuque Fighting Saints coach Matt Millar each off-season, and even working alongside the staff at this summer’s NDC: GDI WEST. What do you try to take from each opportunity you get to grow and share?
A: All of those coaches have played a huge part in where I am now. I just want to say thank you to all of them for everything. I have always been a late bloomer so working with goalie coaches who understood the position and style that would fit my body size has been a big reason for my strong foundation. The best part about working with those coaches is that they have all been with me through various points in my career. I know my game has evolved over the years and is still developing, but it’s awesome to have the GDI USA coaches that I can always come back to and talk about anything with them.
Q4: With so many of today’s best goalies and most desired prospects judged on size; and with you being one of those massive bodies in front of the net; how do think size relates to the position? Can it be a pro and a con?
A: In today’s game, having size is definitely a pro. At the same time, a big guy who is not athletic is a con. Being a “big guy” goalie has a lot of advantages, but there is also more surface area for pucks to hit. That makes rebound control very important. There are some situations where being a “big guy” goalie is challenging. The net is still 4’ tall and it can be challenging to fit into positions like the VH and RVH. Size is something you can’t teach but you can teach the correct way to use you’re size most effectively. Because I have been able to work with those GDI USA coaches who understand my size and the position I have been able to play and be successful at high levels of hockey. I also have good athleticism which can be a deadly combination. I enjoy watching other “big guy” goalies in the NHL to see how they play certain situations and how they use their body effectively.
Q5: You did not play as much as you would have wanted to through your junior year in college. Yet in your senior season you took the reins and it’s given you the chance to turn professional. How did you manage this and what do you think you learned from it that will resonate with goalies in the same situation?
A: I had to wait my turn in college and make the best of the opportunity I got. Was it easy? No, but anything worth doing is never easy. I was able to manage this situation by focusing on what I can control, Attitude and Effort. I didn’t worry about why the coach is playing him over me. It would have been very easy to be negative and say I got the shaft but I also had to be sure I was still being a good teammate and stay positive through all of the ups and downs. Another thing that also helped me was finding other things to do to take my mind off of hockey. Golf, homework, going on walks, or any other hobby helps keep the mind fresh and focused for the next opportunity you get. I was also lucky enough to be playing Division 1 Lacrosse my first two years at school. Because I was contributing to my lacrosse team, it allowed me to escape from hockey and I was also able to use my “big guy” body to hit everything that moved and lead my team in penalty minutes.
Bonus Q: What is in store for you after your playing days? We know you have a future in coaching and are an excellent goalie coach, but other interests are often kept idle as we commit ourselves to our craft.
A: I have thought a little about what I want to do when my playing days are over. GDI USA coach Brennan Poderzay and I have thought about entering the WWE and going after the Tag-Team Championship! I would really like to still be involved in sports one way or another. I also like the feeling of being on a team and could see myself going in a coaching direction. I really enjoy working with younger goalies and giving back what I have learned over the years. I do know that I do not want a 9-5 desk job. I’d go into farming, construction, or other kind of manual labor job before that.
It’s been an entertaining short story for Keegan recently; we hope it translates into a long and prosperous read from here. Thanks for sharing and laughing, and best of luck Keegs!! Follow Keegan Asmundson @keegs33 on twitter.
October 1, 2015
Coach Monnich to represent GDI USA
GDI USA Mental Conditioning Coach Ted Monnich will be representing GDI USA at the Annual Conference of the Association of Applied Sports Psychology (AASP) in Indianapolis on October 14 – 17. 2015.
GDI USA is on Instagram
Click Here to view our new Instagram account and share our pics!
September 23, 2015
2016 NDC’s Now On Sale!
Click the NATIONAL CAMPS tab above to find out more about our 2016 Camps. $500 Down Payment now available.
July 10, 2015
It’s Camp Season!
We are very excited to kick off our Regional and National Camp events next week in Wayne, NJ with a 3 day camp July 15-17. We then shift to Quinnipiac University for the 4th annual NDC: GDI EAST July 19-24. We are SOLD OUT for a 2nd year. We then head south to Maryland for our 8th DC based 5 day RDC: Washington July 27-31, spots are still available.
That same week, GDI Midwest comes to the American Heartland Ice Arena with the SOLD OUT inaugural RDC: Chicago – Girls/Women only event, led by Women’s Director Sanya Sandahl. The boys week is right after, August 3-7, with the Edge Ice Arena hosting our 1st RDC: Chicago, limited spots are available.
Shifting north, we take over the University of Wisconsin’s Kohl Center for the launch of NDC: GDI WEST from August 9-14. Only 3 spots are available as of today, and they WILL fill. Our final week of the summer, August 17-21, includes PRO Consulting in Chicago, invitations have been sent out. While GDI Southeast wraps up with the 3 day RDC: York in PA, Aug 17-19.
We look forward to seeing all of our returning goalies and parents as well as welcoming many new goalies to the family. We have a packed calendar and hope you are having a productive training season. Please contact us for any questions on any of our events. We will see you at the rink.
June 3, 2015
Chicago’s Triple Crown
If you were a gambler, you might not have put much at stake on this threesome of Chicago born 1994’s, but you would have had a trifecta. These 3 young men are winners! While maybe not thoroughbreds, they are now seasoned junior veterans and will be counted on the moment they set foot on their respective college campuses next year.
Tanner Creel, Jared Rutledge, and Chris Funkey are all students of GDI USA President Ryan Honick’s in the recent past, and are now young coaches for GDI Midwest. Ryan boasts, “We are privileged to have 3 guys who have grown up in the Chicago tier 1 landscape and all moved on to the next level, and now for our students to learn from them…it’s not even about where they played that impresses me, it’s the personal stories of perseverance that carries so much value to anyone that has faced adversity in this sport.”
Because of their birth year, they often played with, for, and against each other growing up. They have been team-mates and adversaries. When they gather weekly to coach at our GDI Midwest Technical Clinic Series, they are friends. “Their is a lot of respect for one another in that dressing room, and on the ice.” Claims Honick. Now all three train together weekly with Ryan and Johnny Rutledge. As the core of the Elite group of local goalies, they cheer for and battle one another like when they were bantams playing for the Mission, Team IL, and CYA. Now it’s Penn State, the University of Connecticut, and one to be determined school, that will benefit from the goaltending being polished here.
Jared Rutledge awaits his fate. The one time University of Michigan starting goaltender participates in the skating and shooting sessions without a flickering light of school colors to rally for. This will not deter him, this will not effect him from reaching his seemingly meaningless goal of stopping a 3rd effort rebound in a drill, in a local Chicago suburb in the early morning hours. Jared is positive, he is confident, he is certain. 1 of 58 other Division 1 colleges will offer him a position in their crease. In fact, at the time of print, he was close with one or two that were simply tallying the grades, credits, and details required of college acceptance. While not in the most ideal of situations, Jared embraces this challenge, yet again. After departing Michigan, he spend 2 more seasons in the USHL, wrapping up with the Tri-City Storm. Proving to any naysayers that he is ready for NCAA hockey again. He will only get 2 seasons out of his next stop, an important fact to realize. If a player transfers schools, they must sit out one year completely, fortunately for him, he was able to return to junior. But a 5 year clock begins when you first set foot on campus, now affording Rutledge only 2 more seasons of eligibility, a rare case indeed. Nonetheless, whomever scoops up this goalie, will be pleased with their decision. Jared is a technician in many ways, he is always big, he is always composed, he is quick footed and has the mindset of a competitor.
Tanner Creel has also taken a path less traveled toward UConn this year. After playing only 1 season of Junior A hockey in the old EJHL (now USPHL-Premier), Tanner realized his dream of playing Division 1 hockey and committed to West Point, maybe they forgot to tell him…it was the Army! As an army brat himself growing up, Tanner was excited about the lifestyle and opportunity that a degree from the military would afford him. One year later, his opinion was formed, and his decision had changed. He wanted something else, something different for himself. Not knowing the path they might lay ahead, he returned to the USPHL and later to the NAHL. His gamble paid dividends. UConn joined Hockey East last season and they had an opening in the later part of this season. With help and support from many, Tanner has now been recruited and committed to two schools, as if one wasn’t difficult enough to achieve. He is certainly talented enough. Also a technician, his preparation defines him. He is a meticulous thinker and brings this into his game. Fast, explosive, and structured, Tanner is quite the specimen.
Lastly, Chris Funkey won 2 Championships with the Jersey Hitmen during his 3 years of Junior A hockey. Winning and Battling are truly Chris’ forte. With an “I will prove you wrong” mentality and a chip on his shoulder, he has out-waited the competition, and committed to B1G Penn State University. Chris had his choice of Division 3 schools interested in him, and had the grades to back it up. But his goal was something a little more sensational. Reaching it in January gave him the steam to push through this year’s playoffs with an undefeated record and claim him 2nd cup. As a captain and leader on his squad, Chris stayed focused on his team, not himself during his tenure. The message was simple, win hockey games, and the rest will take care of itself. Indeed it does, and a real lesson worth learning for our goalies distracted by what they have to do to climb the ladder. Funkey has scratched and clawed for his chance to play next year, and it is within his grasp, as the staff at Penn State believes in playing the goalie that gives them the best chance to win. They chose chose wisely.
These 3 horses won their races, and now, they are on to the next track. Keep in mind that their is not one path to greatness in anything in life, especially in hockey. They are fantastic examples of positivity, perseverance, and patience. They made the most of their paths. Best of luck next season guys!
As mentioned all 3 goalies are on staff at GDI Midwest clinics and camps, and are available this summer for private lessons and mentorship.
May 31, 2015
Q5 with Nicki Mueller
For our Newsletter each quarter we will reach out to a different goaltender for the “Quarterly 5 (Q5)”. Asking 5 questions in an effort to examine the unique perspectives they have on their games.
In our 8th installment we introduce our first female goaltender to be featured in the Q5. She is heading to Division 1 Hockey East University of Connecticut in the fall, after wrapping up her youth career with a 2nd trip to the USA Hockey National Championships with the HPHL Chicago Young Americans. Having worked with GDI Midwest Regional Manager Johnny Rutledge for years, and now having a full season with GDI Midwest Women’s Director, Sanya Sandahl, she is poised for future success. Let’s now bring you the Q5, with Nicki Mueller!
Q1: As a role model for our female goaltenders, what message do you have for them? You’ve survived the adversity of the Tier 1 grind and are moving on.
I survived adversity by working hard. I’ve dreamed about playing college hockey since I was six years old. But I knew to achieve that goal I needed to work for it and it was not going to just come to me. My family was very supportive and wanted to see me achieve my goal. They drove hundreds of miles, spent a lot of money, and stayed up through late practices. I had to spend extra time on and off the ice sacrificing some of my social life but I knew one day it would be worth it and one day my dream would come true. The message is hard work and family support.
Q2: You have worked with a few goalie coaches in addition to the GDI USA team; tell us about those experiences and who has been the biggest influence on your game.
I had a very interesting experience with goalie coaches growing up. Many of them tried to change me, and change who I was as a goalie. I was stubborn and refused to let anyone completely change my game. I had one goalie coach trying to get me to buy a new glove…for my opposite hand. He told me that being a full right goalie would take me nowhere and I needed to switch glove hands. I never went back to see that coach again. I wanted a goalie coach who would improve my game and offer suggestions to fix it without changing the whole thing. I liked to know WHY I was doing things they asked, why one movement was better than the other, why going down in some situations was better than standing up. I like explanations and many goalie coaches would not give me any. My whole game changed when I went to play at CYA and met Johnny Rutledge. I was a very raw, un-technical goalie and we started from the bottom. It was not easy for either of us. He was coaching a thirteen year old goalie how to do a proper butterfly. We had a lot of ground to cover in a little amount of time. Johnny never gave up on me, and he never tried to change my style of play, he only improved it. I owe most of my success to him because he was the first goalie coach I was excited to work with every time we were on the ice, and he explained everything I asked and helped me improve to where I am today.
Q3: Now making the jump to college and college hockey, do you feel you are prepared for it?
As I move on to the next journey of my life, I feel prepared because of the hard work I have put in. As a girl college is not only about hockey. The school aspect is really important. The work I put into my grades and Honors and AP classes throughout high school has prepared me for the schooling at UConn. As for the hockey, I feel prepared but not to the extent I should be. This summer will consist of working out and being on the ice a ton. I get the privilege to working alongside three other experienced goalies which is helpful so I can improve from watching their techniques. I also get the chance to work with some of the best goalie coaches in the country, Ryan Honick, Johnny Rutledge and Sanya Sandahl. I have many resources to prepare me for college and working with them this summer will make me even more ready than I could imagine.
Q4: What’s the most important facet of a winning season in your eyes?
I believe there is not just one most important aspect of a winning season but many. Yes, goaltending has a huge impact, but also teamwork and hard work play huge roles. If I had to choose one aspect, it would be teamwork. Sanya Sandahl was our assistant coach this past year and the best thing she taught us was teamwork. When we started the season, we did nothing with each other as a team, we had been a team for four years, and had little team chemistry. Sanya came in and started doing team bonding and team dinners and our team chemistry sky rocketed. We became a team off the ice, which impacted and helped our team on the ice. Our chemistry was amazing. It was both mine and my teams’ best season at CYA and it was all because of the team bonding and chemistry that was created throughout the year. Many things go into a successful winning season but if it were not for Sanya showing us how to be a team on and off the ice, I don’t believe we would have been as successful.
Q5: We have you on staff this off-season, working with our young goalies at clinics and lessons; can you describe the transition from player to coach?
Changing from player to coach has been exhilarating! Along with helping other goalies, it has made me realize many aspects of my game better. Growing up I had bad experiences with goalie coaches until I met Johnny, so being able to go out and coach these kid is something I never got growing up but longed to have. I can help and have an impact on these goalies, and that is an unbelievable feeling. I can offer advice and show them ways to improve their own game. Coaching has improved my game by making me more aware of what I do on the ice. If I tell a student to keep his glove up and out, then I go on the ice, I cannot be hypercritical and keep my glove back. Coaching has made me a better goalie because it makes me think about my own game on an intense level and analyze my movements more closely. Coaching is an awesome feeling, I love that I have the opportunity to do it.
Bonus Q: Tell us about your affinity with cars and motorcycles.
I have a huge love for cars and motorcycles. Growing up I was really close to my grandfather. He was my biggest hockey fan and we were inseparable. We would go to car shows and I loved seeing the old muscle cars and the engines and the smell of gas, it was a time I cherished. My grandpa bought my siblings’ first cars and in 2008 I saw a Dodge Challenger and I fell in love. My grandpa then promised me I would have that car. In 2010, he unexpectedly passed away and I was a wreck. Once my 16th birthday came around I knew my parents couldn’t afford a Challenger and I was okay with it because my grandpa had promised me the car and not my parents. So one day we planned to go car shopping and instead my parents picked me up in my car, a Dodge Challenger, and in my grandpa’s favorite color silver. My parents knew the bond between my grandpa and I and they did everything they could to get me the car and now every time I go anywhere I think of my grandpa and remember the great times we had together. People think I am just spoiled, but my car has more meaning than anything I have. As for the motorcycle aspect, my dad always owned motorcycles while I was growing up, and my mom also rides one. So I talked my parents into letting me get my motorcycle license when I was 16. So this year my dad surprised me with a Harley Davison Sportster. I grew up around cars and motorcycles and ever since I was young have had a big fascination with them.
Thank you for sharing Nicki, best of luck heading to UConn. We look forward to watching you develop as a player and now coach. Follow Nicki and her college career @NickiMueller31 on twitter.
May 20, 2015
GDI Midwest an immediate success
The 2014-2015 season was a tremendous success for the teams and goaltenders that GDI Midwest coaches worked with. In an effort to to strengthen the Chicago-land goaltending landscape, our staff of Ryan Honick, Johnny Rutledge, and Sanya Sandahl (and others), teamed up for the inaugural hockey season of GDI Midwest. We amassed an amazing 9 State Championships, 4 League Championships, and 4 National Championship appearances, as well as numerous tournament titles for the teams we were directly contracted to work with, or worked directly with the goaltenders on these teams.
Our own Nicki Mueller and the CYA Girls U19 team were Quarter Finalists at USA Hockey Tier I National Championships.
The Team Illinois U18 team led by Cooper Marshall and Bryan Tierney won the Tier I HPHL League Championship.
Amelia Murray and Hayley Kliczko were U16 Silver Medalists at USA Hockey Girls Tier I National Championships with CYA.
Brendan Murray and Jamie Dziurdzik won the Tier II Midget U16 AA IL State Championship for the Falcons and played at USA Hockey Nationals.
Nick Stofcheck won the Tier II Midget U16 CSDHL League Championship for the Cyclones.
Amazingly, Abby Wieczorek and Kristin Smith were U14 Bronze Medal Champions at USA Hockey Girls Tier I Nationals, U14 State Champions, U14 Regional Champions, and HPHL League Champions this season.
Matthew Choate and Luke Greenwood won the Tier I Bantam Minor State Championship with the Chicago Mission.
The Bantam Major Falcons’ Jon Mor and Nico Almenara also won the CSDHL League Championship.
Justin Smith and Kenny Turelli won the Tier II Bantam Minor A IL State Championship with the Falcons.
CYA’s Annie Spring and Grace Kedziora were the Girls Tier I U12 State Champions.
Tucker Tynan and Matt O’Donnell won the prestigious Bauer World Invite Tournament at the 2002 level for CYA.
Arley Cutler and Mark Imburgia won the Tier II PeeWee Major AA IL State Championship for the Falcons.
Nick Larrabee and Drew Palena won the Tier I PeeWee Minor State Championship with CYA.
Lucas Winger and Macoy Barry won the Tier I Squirt Major State Championship with CYA.
Margaret Burden and Max Weilandt won the Tier II Squirt Major AA IL State Championship with the Falcons.
In addition to our Midwest success, even more GDI USA affiliated goaltenders took home hardware. Bryan Hince won the SPHL (A level Professional) title this year with the Knoxville Ice Bears. Chris Funkey won the USPHL-Premier Championship (for the 2nd time in 3 years), with the Jersey Hitmen and committed to B1G Penn State University. Tyler Hough won the WSHL title with the Idaho Junior Steelheads and committed to D3 ECAC West Nazareth College.
Congratulations to all of our winning netminders this season! We hope your success continues and we know you are already preparing for the year to come. Best of luck!
April 21, 2015
Coach Sandahl named to USA Hockey
GDI Midwest Women’s Director Sanya Sandahl has been chosen to coach the selected goaltenders at the annual 2015 USA Hockey Girls U18 National Camp at St. Cloud State University July 7-14. Sanya is currently an Assistant Coach for D3 MIAC Augsburg College and the Chicago Young Americans U19 and U14 Girls teams.
This spring, she will be on coaching with us at our Technical Series Clinics at Addison Ice Arena as well as offering 1 on 1 training. In June, Sanya will be back with the PGD/OS Girls Summer Goalie Training Program in Minnesota and is directing our 1st annual GDI Midwest RDC: Chicago – Girls/Women July 27-31 at American Heartland Ice Arena.
Join Ryan Honick, Johnny Rutledge, Sanya Sandahl and our young team of GDI USA mentored coaches this off-season.
Chris Funkey, 2 time USPHL Champion, committed to B1G Penn State University, Mission & Chill alumni
Tanner Creel, committed to Hockey East University of Connecticut, TI & CYA alumni
Jared Rutledge, USHL Tri-City Storm, NTDP, CYA, Mission & TI alumni
Fitness Development by USHL Chicago Steel Strength & Conditioning Coach Virgil Strzelecki.
Plus additional staff.
Programs include our Technical Series Clinics, Lessons, and Regional/National Camps. We target the entire off-season for a complete development approach.
(10% Multi Series Discount available) eligible with 2 or more programs.
Technical Series Clinics
27 hours of Instruction, twelve date 75 min on-ice sessions (15 hrs of ice), twelve date 60 min workouts (12 hrs of fitness). 2 groups of 12, 24 students max. 12 goalies on ice with 5 coaches. Boys & Girls welcome. Emphasis on fundamental and highly advanced strategic technical and tactical growth. Build proper details and habits now so that they may develop throughout the off-season and be implemented by the next season.
$999 Full program price
$100 per clinic price (Includes ice & gym) Cash or Check only
We have reserved the below ice sessions for lessons. Goalies can book single or multiple slots now by contacting Ryan. Coach’s fees does not include ice cost. Semi-Private (2 on 1) lessons also available.
Ryan Honick $120 per hour
Johnny Rutledge $120 per hour
Sanya Sandahl $120 per hour
Guest Consultants $120 per hour
Chris Funkey $75 per hour
Tanner Creel $75 per hour
Jared Rutledge $75 per hour
Jack Hickey $75 per hour
Nicki Mueller $75 per hour
Hot Shot Ice Arena $60 per hour
April 2 8:20-9:20pm, 9:20-10:20pm
April 9 9:30-10:30pm
April 16 9:30-10:30pm
April 23 8:20-9:20pm, 9:20-10:20pm
April 30 8:20-9:20pm, 9:20-10:20pm
May 7 8:20-9:20pm, 9:20-10:20pm
May 14 8:20-9:20pm, 9:20-10:20pm
May 21 8:20-9:20pm, 9:20-10:20pm
North Shore Ice Arena $75 per hour
May 8 6:50-7:50pm, 8:00-9:00pm
May 15 6:50-7:50pm, 8:00-9:00pm
North Shore Ice Arena $115 per hour
June 3 5:40-6:40pm, 6:50-7:50pm
June 10 5:40-6:40pm, 6:50-7:50pm
June 17 5:40-6:40pm, 6:50-7:50pm
June 24 5:40-6:40pm, 6:50-7:50pm
Regional Development Camp (RDC): Chicago – Girls/Women
July 27-31 American Heartland Ice Arena, Lincolnwood, IL
Welcome to GDI in the United States. We are extremely exited to re-brand GDI Southeast after the launch of GDI Midwest and our GDI WEST National Camp to complement GDI EAST. This new umbrella name will house all events GDI in the US and allow for even further expansion. By growing locations, we will grow our family.
President Ryan Honick will oversee all operations and continue to be your single point of contact. New named Regional Managers Jay Chrapala and Johnny Rutledge will manage the Southeast and Midwest markets while supporting your goals individually. Please visit our Coaches Tab to view each Coach’s background and contact.
Our new website has given our previously beautiful one a simple face-lift. You will find a more user friendly experience as well as an upgraded Registration Page, connected to each event.
Please download our 2015 Program Guide by clicking on the picture below. Don’t forget to Like GDIUSAgoalie on Facebook and Follow GDIUSAgoalie on Twitter! We hope you like our new GDI USA brand and welcome your feedback. We look forward to partnering with you this off season.
February 18, 2015
Q5 with Kevin Reich
For our Newsletter each quarter we will reach out to a different goaltender for the “Quarterly 5 (Q5)”. Asking 5 questions in an effort to examine the unique perspectives they have on their games.
Our 8th installment of the Q5 brings us some international flavor in Germany’s Kevin Reich. Now with his second USHL and third North American team in the Green Bay Gamblers, 1995 born Reich can be considered a well traveled goaltender. Recently returned from the 2015 World Junior Championships in Canada, Kevin is keeping his focus on the team at hand, with one eye still locked on the NHL, the purpose of his journey overseas. Let’s now bring you the Q5, with Kevin Reich!
Q1: Let’s start with the WJC, what was that experience like? We all saw you play tremendously against Team Canada.
A: It was an amazing experience to play in a tournament like this and face such good players like Connor McDavid. It was so much fun to play in Canada in front of so many fans, it was an unreal feeling.
Q2: Returning to the USHL must be a change of pace and timing for you. In your second season in North America, what are the challenges of the game here vs. the international style?
A: Yes it’s a change, but it’s the same game. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the WJC or in the USHL; I just focus on stopping the next puck and let my team know that I’m there for them and that they can trust me. The international style is really fast and a lot of skill. That means you have to be ready all the time, it’s the same here.
Q3: You have skated with Dubuque Fighting Saints Coach Matt Millar and Green Bay Gamblers Coach Ryan Honick so far in the US, both GDI Coaches. How does their coaching philosophy differ from the coaches you have worked with in Germany?
A: I worked in Germany with GDI when I was young and then Pierre Groulx who was the Goaltending Coach for the Montreal Canadians, so I’m kind of used to the coaching style here. I feel I’m trained like a North American goaltender.
Q4: At the end of last season you sat 5th on the NHL Central Scouting list of North American Goaltenders (you are listed by where you play), you were not drafted. What is next for you?
A: That’s simple; it just means that I have to work harder because I want to play in the NHL. I’ll stay the course.
Q5: Getting to play professional hockey in two games in the prestigious DEL in Germany at the age of 17 must have been a thrill. Does that moment continue to motivate and drive you?
A: Playing professional hockey at that early age was just the beginning of what I hope is a long successful career in pro hockey. I’ll do what it takes to get there and stay there.
Thank you Kevin, we wish you all the best in your endeavors. Continue to showcase yourself and represent your country. Follow Reich and his road to the top @KevinReich31 on twitter.
February 9, 2015
Coaching the Coaches: Transition System
We are proud to announce part 7 of a New Series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part 7 in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI Southeast, Midwest and Director GDI EAST, WEST. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
We are proud to announce part 6 of a New Series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part 6 in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI Southeast, Midwest and Director GDI EAST, WEST. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
The function of a MST is to refresh the specific skill sets that tend to fade during the course of a long season. We zero in on fundamental development while delivering new concepts to sprout within the goalie’s overall game. This event is delivered during Christmas time as the post season push becomes eminent and is a vital component to our complete developmental approach.
Saturday Orientation Meeting 2:00pm
2:30-3:40pm Lecture Series
3:40-4:10pm Dressing Room
4:10-5:10pm PSM Skating
5:25-6:40pm Group 1 Drills / Group 2 Fitness
6:55-8:10pm Group 2 Drills / Group 1 Fitness
Monday Wrap Up Meeting 8:30pm
6.75 hours of On Ice Skills Development per group
Position Specific Movement Sessions
Fitness and Hand Eye Reflex Development Sessions
3 Part Lecture Series
10% Series Discount may be applied, payment by check only.
September 9, 2014
InGoal Coaching the Coaches Part 5
We are proud to announce part 5 of a New Series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part 5 in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI Southeast, Midwest and Director GDI EAST, WEST. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
GDI Southeast is excited to launch the all new Mentorship Program for the dedicated goaltender looking to advance their game to the next level. The program is designed to apply consistent training throughout the course of the season, touching on all aspects of goaltender development, built around 3 primary components.
Training. Fitness. Mental.
The base of the program is Private 1 on 1 on-ice lessons. Modern technique is the input most responsible for the domination of today’s game by goaltenders. This environment allows for true construction and dissection of unique skill. Couple this with live post-game assessments and immediate video review for maximum feedback and support.
Prospective goalies are now looked at to be great athletes. We have partnered with Launch Sport Performance and Tough It to utilize their state of the art fitness centers. We will devote time to many specific fitness areas including Hand Eye Reflex Training, Strength, Functional Body Movement, and Core Stability.
Without mental conditioning and coaching, a goalie’s game can suffer from stress, poor self-confidence, lack of focus and concentration, and a host of other mental and emotional weaknesses. We provide you with the mental conditioning and strength necessary to meet the mental and emotional rigors of goaltending. We match the goalie’s physical strength and technical ability with mental toughness, tenacity and durability to create a totally well-rounded goaltender.
GDI Southeast Regional Manager Jay Chrapala will conduct all on-ice and off-ice sessions as well as game assessments. Mental Conditioning Coach and Director, GDI Carolinas Ted Monnich will conduct all mental conditioning sessions via phone or internet conferencing. Link to Coaches Bios
We have 3 packages catering to your specific needs and budgets available. Services may be used throughout the course of the 2014/2015 season.
5 Private Lessons
1 Game Assessment w/ video review
1 Off Ice Workout
1 Mental Conditioning Session
(That’s a savings of $60 off of individual services)
8 Private Lessons
3 Game Assessments w/ video review
3 Off Ice Workouts
3 Mental Conditioning Sessions
(That’s a savings of over $200 off of individual services)
10 Private lessons
6 Game Assessments w/ video review
6 Off Ice Workouts
6 Mental Conditioning Sessions
(That’s a savings of over $500 off of individual services)
Payment by Check to GDI Southeast or Click Here for PayPal online. Please contact us for questions or further information.
August 22, 2014
Q5 with Bryan Mountain
For our Newsletter each quarter we will reach out to a different goaltender for the “Quarterly 5 (Q5)”. Asking 5 questions in an effort to examine the unique perspectives they have on their games.
In our 7thinstallment of the Q5, we spoke with a GDI legend. Now having graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Criminal Justice, Bryan Mountain’s past, present, and future will surely intrigue you. Bryan’s legacy has been cemented in the GDI camp circles after his first summer in 1998 when it was a well known fact that an undersized student by the name of Mountain was a bigger, stronger, faster, harder working, athletic machine than anyone else to come through. He became the standard for which all fitness tests, fitness drills, and on ice efforts would be set. In fact, if a bantam aged Bryan could finish the 2 mile run before the junior goaltenders in attendance, they were made to run it again the next day…and all 16 in that group ran twice. After a career spanning the BCHL, USHL, and 5 seasons in Hockey East, Bryan has decided to pursue another path within the game. Representing players has become his new passion, and if he puts in the effort that he once did as a kid at camp, his success is guaranteed. It is our true pleasure to bring you the Q5, with Bryan Mountain!
Q1: You’ve hung up the skates for the last time. What does representing players in the future represent for you?
A: For me it represents something that I didn’t always feel I had throughout my career, and that was a champion. There were a ton of people who supported me throughout my career whether it was my family, friends, or teammates, but there were times in my career where I didn’t feel as if people within the inner circle of an organization were fighting for me. I didn’t think that anybody was against me or didn’t like me, but I didn’t think that anybody was fighting for me either, and for a goalie that can be a lonely and hopeless feeling. I believe that every player needs an advocate, outside of their family, that is willing to invest in their career and support them. This gives me the chance to do that and to help other people achieve their goals.
Q2: You were like any other kid playing the game to reach a dream; when that dream didn’t come to fruition, how did your focus shift?
A: My focus actually didn’t shift too much. I’m still using the same type of attitude and approach I used in hockey for the next chapter in my life. I always knew that even if I did reach the highest level, that the sport would eventually get me one day and I would have to stop playing. So developing a good work ethic and finding new ways to develop wasn’t just for hockey, but it was also for life after hockey too. I think my experiences taught me how to handle all types of situations, both good and bad, and taught me how to stay patient. I’m only a few months removed from my hockey career, but I’m finding out quickly that this new job is the same as the old job; just find a way to learn and get better. That’s really my main focus right now and so far the transition over has been relatively smooth.
Q3: That legendary status you achieved as an athlete defined you as a goaltender. What made you tick? What was your game made of?
A: From an athletic standpoint, with me being only 5’7, I just felt that I didn’t have much of an option and had to be a great athlete. What we see in goaltending at the pro level is an amazing combination of size and skill. As a smaller goalie I pretty much had to find a way to survive. I played a very active and aggressive style and the only way I could play that way was if I was a great skater and very powerful. At the same time, when I was growing up I was always driven by the fact that my size meant that I always had to prove myself to people. In hindsight I think this was good and bad. It was good because it was the one thing that really kept me motivated and I actually saw great results with my training on and off the ice. But as I got a bit older I realized that that attitude was counterproductive because instead of worrying about myself and my development, I was only worrying about what other people thought of me. Eventually I grew out of that, but during my development years that was a big part of what kept me going.
Q4: By the time you caught up with the GDI Southeast coaches, you were a junior in college; your all business approach was evident. How important is being professional and representing yourself properly?
A: The professional type of approach I used for hockey was just something I grew up with. My father is big on discipline and hard work, but he’s also big on staying humble and finding different ways to develop. Also growing up with an agent in the house exposed me to the pro level and a lot of pro athletes from all different sports. So from an early age I saw what a pro looked and acted like and I was able to emulate what those guys did. I think that being a professional is important because even though hockey is a game it is also a job as well. It should be fun and you should want to do it, but just like any other job you have to pay your dues and stay open to learning.
Q5: For an aspiring goaltender in today’s competitive hockey market, what advice would you give them when it comes to advancing their opportunities?
A: My advice would be when you’re looking at options for the next path in your career, is to go where you’re wanted. I think a lot of guys get caught up in the pedigree of certain leagues or teams, but none of that matters if you don’t get a great opportunity at that level. You can say you play at some high profile level or for a high profile team but it pretty much stops after that. I’ve been in these situations, and not only are they hard to deal with on a day to day basis but they can also stall the advancement of your career. There was a time in mine where I moved backwards in terms of level. Ultimately I felt that I was good enough to play Division 1 hockey, so I tried to put myself in a situation where I could play a lot and prove myself. After that I just felt that if I did my job at a high level then somebody would notice, and fortunately for me that ended up being with Northeastern. Especially as a goalie I think it’s most important to put yourself in a situation where you’ll get the most time and where a coach will value you the most as a player.
Well said! Best of luck with your dad’s long standing company, Cornerstone Management, a Philadelphia based player agency. It’s been an honor to train and coach with you, and we know the next chapter of your life will be a great journey. Be proud of your accomplishments, we certainly are. Follow Bryan and his adventures on the road scouting talent @BMountain46 on twitter.
August 7, 2014
GDI Midwest Launches
We are proud to announce our expansion to the Midwest Region of the United States by launching GDI Midwest!
As you are aware, President Ryan Honick has been consulting in the Midwest for many years, working GDI Prospect Camps, coaching with Premier Goaltender Development (PGD) in MN, and Midwest Goalie School (MWGS) in IL, making yearly trips to the NAHL and USHL showcases, scouting, and more. We believe that all goaltenders should be provided with elite level coaching and development. The opportunity and need for such a program has evolved in Chicago, IL. Coach Honick will relocate there in the fall to begin this endeavor and continue to satisfy a growing demand for top end consulting in the Midwest.
Partnering with Ryan will be John Rutledge, a very well respected and well known coach in the Chicagoland area. Johnny and Ryan will target a Regional Development Camp for the summer of 2015 but will immediately deliver comprehensive mentorship programs, individual lessons, clinics, and more. We have already partnered with many of the top associations in the city for next fall. We are honored to affiliate ourselves as the Goalie Coaches for the HPHL Team Illinois Midget teams, the HPHL Chicago Young Americans boys Bantam, PeeWee, and Squirt teams, the Falcons Hockey Association, the Rockford Hockey Club, and the prestigious Bauer Selects spring/summer program.
In addition to the staff, PDG Women’s Director and GDI Southeast Guest Coach Sanya Sandahl will be relocating from Minneapolis to Chicago as Director of Goaltending for the Chicago Young Americans Girls Program. She will also take on the role of Assistant Coach for their U19 College Prep and U12 Squirt teams. Sanya will round out our initial team to offer the girls in Chicago exactly what they have been missing.
Also, the USHL Green Bay Gamblers have hired Ryan as their Goaltending Coach for the 2014/2015 season. Ryan will travel into Green Bay twice a month to work with the goalies and coaches at practices and games. He will also consult with the local youth program. The USHL Chicago Steel had previously brought him in as a consultant in years past, but this position will provide the club with a more full time coach that will deliver a plan and structure of goaltender development, as well as a scout to assess goaltending talent for the organization.
Finally we will expand our extremely successful and one of a kind National Development Camp (NDC) to a Midwest location with the launch of GDI WEST for the summer of 2015. This elite level event brings together the best resources possible to offer the best camp possible and will be created in the same mold as the GDI EAST event presented at Quinnipiac University’s TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, CT. Expect a formal announcement in the coming weeks. Read EAST Wrap Up article
GDI Southeast will now be led by Jay Chrapala, current Operations Manager of our school. Jay will expand upon his role to include in and off season mentorship, lessons, camps, and association affiliations. What makes Jay unique compared to ALL other goalie coaches however, is his Physiological expertise. Jay is certified by the NSPA as a personal trainer and is also CPR and AED certified. He has consulted for Pioneer Corporate Health, 368 Fitness, and now is an official Strength & Conditioning Coach for Launch Sport Performance, operated by Dr. Liz Wheeler and located in Rockville, MD. Jay will continue his personal dedication to the AYHL Team Maryland Organization as Director of Goaltending for a 3rd season (and 7th under GDI Southeast), as well as direct programming for many other clubs in the area. Jay is a very sought after coach due to his challenging drills, and the ability to communicate and motivate the top goaltenders in our family.
Coach Honick will administrate GDI Southeast and GDI Midwest programs as President and continue to be your primary point of contact for all of your goaltending needs. Ryan will also continue to monitor our clients in the East as well as make periodic visits to the area as 6th year Goaltending Consultant for the USPHL Jersey Hitmen.
This website and our social media platforms will begin to take shape over the coming months to consolidate the Southeast, EAST, Midwest, and WEST titles and programs.
We hope that you are as excited as we are for the creation of our new projects in the Midwest. As we continue to evolve our brand and business from our 2006 inception, new challenges bring new opportunities. An expanded network of goalies, teams, coaches, camp offerings, and programs will benefit all involved and bring our philosophy, experience, and expertise to a new market. By expanding locations, we will expand our family.
Please contact us for questions and comments, thank you.
July 31, 2014
2014 GDI EAST Wrap Up
2014 Team Photo
The 2014 National Development Camp (NDC): GDI EAST was an incredible experience for everyone involved! The 3rd annual six day event was highlighted by our incredible facility, Quinnipiac University’s TD Bank Sports Center. The 185,000 square-foot venue seats 3,286 for Ice Hockey and is the centerpiece of the University’s $360 million project to develop its 250-acre York Hill campus and we have the run of the building. The ECAC men’s team has become a powerhouse over the past few years including a trip to the 2013 NCAA Championship Game.
Our elite staff of 15 included QU Head Coach Rand Pecknold who attended many of our drill sessions to observe and note our 50 goaltenders in attendance. The team’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, Brijesh Patel is utilized each day to put our goalies through the exact workouts that his college team experiences. “Coach B” is a favorite amongst our kids and a yearly staple at the camp. Our professional Yoga Instructor and other QU Hockey Opps staff round out the group of invaluable assistants that make our event one of a kind. Our philosophy comes to life however through the direction of our on ice staff of coaches. The 10 men brought in to deliver drills, content, concepts, experience, and expertise, all combine for the most unique teaching environment around. Collectively developing a curriculum designed as framework to combat the most modern scoring threats and what we feel are the five ways goals go in, goalies were treated to mentally and physically challenging environments that only pushed their game’s further. We believe that all goaltenders should be coached like professionals, and we know that each goalie is unique. Every goaltender experiences countless inputs to their games throughout their careers and we aim at helping to educate and shape each one’s approach to the position. 60 goalies in the NHL doing 60 different things is proof enough that we all need to play with what works for each one of us. Our concept of “Build Your Plan” became our theme for the week, using the individual coach to help the individual goaltender. With a collection of coaches from the ECHL, D1, OHL, USHL, NAHL, USPHL, EHL levels and even including players from the professional level assisting, this one of a kind staff offered a wealth of knowledge to our students.
GDI EAST is built on 3 primary purposes:
1. To enhance our students’ developmental approach.
2. To enhance our students’ career opportunities.
3. To progress the position of goaltending through synergy and exploration.
13 US states were represented by the 50 bantam, midget, junior, and college goalies in attendance. The coaches involved represented over 15 different programs and an additional slew of recruiters attending throughout the week to evaluate and assess the talent on the ice. Each attendee was sure to make new friends, have exposure to high level development and exposure, and took home the foundation of an individual action plan that they can now build off of and enhance through the course of the ensuing season.
GDI Southeast would like to thank everyone for being a part of this GDI EAST event. From the attending students, the incredible staff, the QU rink and hotel management, our D1 shooters including QU and Sacred Heart University players, our partners: Brian’s Custom Goal, Under Armour, Goalies Plus, InGoal Magazine, and the parents who support their sons dreams, thank you for making the 2014 event the best to date.
We will now look to plan our 2015 event and wish to also announce the launch of the NDC: GDI WEST, stay tuned for news and information in the coming weeks.
Media can now be found on this site, including the below links:
Director GDI Carolinas, Ted Monnich will extend his international ice hockey coaching career when he travels to Helsinki, Finland, on May 29, to coach goaltenders and study Finnish coaching techniques with renowned Finnish goalie coach Jukka Ropponen at the GoaliePro Camp 2014.
In the world of professional ice hockey Finland is regarded as a goalie factory, producing such notable NHL goaltenders as Tuuka Rask, Boston Bruins; Mikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames: and Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars. Monnich will work with professional goaltenders from Europe and the NHL, including Mikko Rämö, Erno Suomalainen, Rasmus Reijola, Rasmus Tirronen and Bernd Bruckler will be skating that week. Niklas Bäckströn and Niko Hovinen will not be able to skate yet as they are both recovering from operations, but will still be joining them for the event.
Monnich will also take the opportunity to observe the distinctions between Finnish and North American coaching styles. Ted Monnich has been involved with all levels of goaltending for over 40 years, and in six countries. He has competed in three USA Hockey amateur National Championships, played professionally in the ECHL and SPHL, served as Assistant Coach of the ECHL Columbia Inferno, coached goaltenders in the top-tier Slovakia Extraliga, the Turkish National Program and the Turkish Ice Hockey Federation, and several junior teams in the USA. He worked as a Head Instructor at Puckstoppers Goaltending School in London, ON, and coached at GDI Regional Development Camps and National Development Camps as a former Assistant Manager for GDI Southeast. Ted Monnich is currently a member of the coaching staff of NDC: GDI EAST presented at Quinnipiac University and will be in attendance this July. He was also named the Mental Conditioning Coach for the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays and will begin his duties for the 2014/2015 season.
Ted provides mental conditioning coaching to amateur and professional goalies, ensuring that they are as well prepared mentally, as physically, for the rigors of their sport. He is pursuing graduate studies in Sports & Exercise Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ted is a Contributing Author to InGoal Magazine. He is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and resides near Charlotte, NC.
For our Newsletter each quarter we will reach out to a different goaltender for the “Quarterly 5 (Q5)”. Asking 5 questions in an effort to examine the unique perspectives they have on their games.
In our 6thinstallment of the Q5, we caught up with long time GDI trained NAHL Austin Bruins goaltender #31 Nick Lehr. After finishing the season with a league best 35 Wins, posting a 5th best GAA and SP, winning the NAHL Showcase, awarded one Central Star of the Week, playing in the Top Prospects Tournament for a second year, being named to the All Division – Central Team, voted Team MVP by his teammates , winning the Central Division title, and making a trip to the league finals, Nick has certainly earned his mettle as one of the top goalies in one of the top Junior Leagues in the US. When his hometown University of Minnesota committed him for next fall, the 1993 born goaltender knew his time was now to make a run at the NAHL title. Attending the NDC: GDI EAST this summer for a second year, we are excited to welcome Nick Lehr to the Q5.
Q1: You just returned from the NAHL Finals. Tell us about the playoff run.
A: After two years of losing in the division final, it felt really good getting over that hump this third year. “3rd time’s the charm” was kinda my motto this year. Playoffs were a battle for us, but the most fun I have had while playing hockey. Playing in the longest game in NAHL history (a 4-3W to clinch their Division Series against Minot on April 12, lasting 117 minutes in triple overtime) was one of the most fun hockey moments I have ever had. The finals were a great experience. The fact the final was in Alaska, the atmosphere in Fairbanks was great!
Q2: Posting a 81-37-7 record and earning multiple accolades through your junior career as now the most highly decorated Bruin, is a hugely successful body of work. How do you feel you evolved through the course of those three years?
A: The first year I was a back up to a veteran goalie who taught me a lot. I didn’t play much but I learned what it took to get through such a long season and how to stay composed, stay up-beat, and stay healthy through a nine month season. I created a routine for myself that didn’t really change much over the duration of my career. Consistency is the key and my daily/weekly routine helped me feel comfortable during the entire three years.
Q3: Most goalies strive to be in your position. What do you feel are the challenges and pressures of being a proven NAHL starting goaltender?
A: It was definitely a lot of pressure proving myself day in and day out over the years. I just tried not to think about pressures and just enjoy going to the rink. The guys on the team each year have been a lot of fun and they are your family for nine months out of the year. Enjoying the season and hanging out with the guys on the team makes it fun to play each day, which relieved the pressure. It’s just a game, you gotta have fun when playing.
Q4: You are known to make saves “out of the box” and are a dynamic goaltender, how do you approach the position?
A: My game has actually changed a lot since the first season. The Head Coach, Goalie Coach, and summer Trainer did a lot for me. I started with a very wide stance and went down on all my saves. Last year my coach literally had me stand up for two weeks straight in practice, without going down, after a weekend I had been scored on high too many times. Just one of those things you don’t really think of but the rest of the season I noticed myself making more standing saves on high shots. I’ve narrowed my stance and I feel I have more power and mobility along with staying up more on high shots. The NAHL is a good league, I had to learn and understand situations and I watched a lot of video to see how I played weekend to weekend.
Q5: University of Minnesota chose you this season. That must have been a dream come true for a Minnesota guy, tell us about the recruitment experience.
A: It was definitely a dream come true! I grew up 5 minutes from the U of M and I remember going to games and thinking “This is where I want to be”. I did have a few other schools talk to me throughout the year but it’s a waiting game. I didn’t think of it as a distraction but more as motivation. Division 1 opportunity is what this league is about, and once you get that first call or talk after a game you want them to keep calling or keep coming back to see you. I was going on through the season just talking to these schools waiting for someone to make an offer when finally Minnesota did. I didn’t hesitate to accept. After I committed, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. All those years of working and it had finally paid off.
Bonus Q: After you received your commitment and the seemingly endless wait to find out where you were going to play college hockey was over, how did it affect you? A lot of players can let their foot off the gas and finish their year poorly.
A: Exactly, it was a relief to finally know what I was doing in the future. The main word from that sentence is future. I was still an Austin Bruin after I committed and the team was my focus. I know players that have committed and gone downhill at the end of their year. I did not want to be one of those players. After I committed I didn’t think that I could relax, I thought now I have to prove they made the right decision. I am competitive and to just stop playing is not in my blood.
What a junior career and promising future for Nick. Thanks buddy, we appreciate your time and can’t wait to continue working with you this summer to help prepare you for your college career. Follow the fun loving Nick Lehr on Twitter @LehrBear and check him out next year with the Golden Gophers @GopherHockey
Also GDI EAST Coach Elliott Hogue is the 3rd year Goaltending Coach for the Austin Bruins. Follow Elliott @ehogue86 and the Bruins @theaustinbruins
May 15, 2014
FREE Clinics Twin Ponds East
Click to learn more
We are proud to partner with Goalies Plus Pro Shop for their Goalie Day Pennsylvania 5 for a second year.
Goalies Plus will be hosting the annual Goalie Day Pennsylvania 5 on Saturday May 24th, 2014. Free door prizes will be handed out at the store and huge goalie sale will take place with a huge selection of new models and last years models. Discounts are to low to advertise!
Goalies Plus will also be holding free goalie clinics all day at Twin Ponds East (two blocks from the Goalies Plus superstore). The free goalie clinics will be instructed be GDI Southeast (Goaltender Development Institute), a clinic like this would cost quite a bit of money but Goalies Plus is providing this free to the first 12 goalies in each group. times are as follow:
12:00pm – mites & squirts
1:30pm – pee wee & bantam
3:00pm – midget, junior & adult
Please call 1-800-599-2440 x2 to register for the free goalie clinic or e-mail email@example.com to register.
For a day of great saving and improve your game for free, goalie day 5 at goalies plus is the place to be. see you there!
May 10, 2014
InGoal Coaching the Coaches part 3
We are proud to announce part 3 of a New Series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part 3 in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI Southeast and Director GDI EAST. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
Congratulations to South Carolina Stingrays’ Jeff Jakaitis, winner of the 2014 Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Year Award! Jeff becomes the second goalie in league history to win the award twice, also winning it in 2012.
Jeff has been working with Coach Honick since his rookie year in 07/08′. Reunited this season with the Stingrays, Jakaitis was in attendance as an instructor at the 2013 National Development Camp (NDC): GDI EAST at Quinnipiac University.
“Without Coach Monnich’s Mental Conditioning and Coach Honick’s technical expertise, none of this would have been possible, I want to thank these two guys for all of their help in the past and especially this season.” states Jakaitis. Jeff had quite a season.
Honick, Jakaitis, and Monnich
2014 ECHL South Division Champion
Winner 2014 Warrior ECHL Goaltender of the Year Award
Winner Warrior Goalie of the Month for October 2013 and December 2014
Received the 2014 Stingrays Jerry Zucker Community Service Award
We are proud to announce part 2 of a New Series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick.
This is part 2 in a series of articles from guest author Ryan Honick, President GDI Southeast and Director GDI EAST. Coaching the Coaches looks not at developing goaltending coaches, instead it looks to provide some support for the many coaches who have little or no experience dealing with the men and women they rely on the most – their goalies. Ryan regularly visits with coaches at all levels to share his insights, a taste of which you will get from this series.
Congratulations to Gonzaga High School and long time GDI Southeast affiliated goaltender Nick Platais. Nick won the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League MD state championship game over Calvert Hall College High School and the Winter MET Hockey Player of the Year Award! Nick began playing as a member of the CBHL Montgomery Youth Hockey Association (MYHA) before playing 65 varsity games with Gonzaga. Nick has attended numerous Regional Camps and the inaugural 2012 GDI EAST National Camp. Primarily working with Coach Jay Chrapala over the years, Jay claims, “Nick has been one of my hardest working, dedicated, and favorite students over the years. I have witnessed his growth and talent flourish and these accolades are no surprise to us. He deserves it and is a testimony to what determination can provide you.”
Nick heads to the University of Santa Clara in CA this fall to study business and will play ACHA college hockey. Best of luck Nicky!
Highlights and Interviews of Championship Click Here
March 21, 2014
Lieuwen makes NHL debut
If you haven’t been following this story, we are proud to inform you that Buffalo Sabres prospect, and long time GDI Alberta student, Nathan Lieuwen made his dream a reality this week, having been recalled, playing in relief, and then starting for the Sabres. (Articles linked below)
Coach Honick had the pleasure of working with Nathan last season as both were members of the ECHL Greenville Road Warriors. “Lieu” provided a fantastic Q5 interview to GDI Southeast last February. (Article linked below) Honick considers Nathan one of the most talented, mentally mature, and coach-able goalies that he has worked with. “I’m proud to have worked with Nathan during his journey to the top. We met in 2007 at GDI’s NDC at Shattuck’s when he was a junior rookie, and it’s been fun to track his progress and now be a part of his professional development. His open mindedness and work ethic are top notch and he has a bright future with an organization looking for a fresh start in goal.”
Lieuwen and Honick
Lieuwen marks the 3rd goalie that Honick has worked with to play in the National Hockey League. Braden Holtby was with the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays briefly in 2009/2010 while he was the Goaltending Consultant, and Allan York played 11 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011/2012. Since, York partners with Jeff Jakaitis on this year’s Stingrays squad.
For all of our affiliated goaltenders that may be in their playoffs, tournaments, districts, states, etc. this weekend and over the next few weeks; GDI Southeast would like to wish you the best of luck! Remember, your work has culminated to this moment. You began preparing for this last spring…you deserve to be here! Take it one series at a time, one game at a time, one period at a time, and one shot at a time. No matter the situation or outcome, be positive, be a warrior, and HAVE FUN! Good Luck and keep us posted.
February 18, 2014
Q5 with Chris Funkey
In our 5th installment of the Q5, we visit with USPHL Premier Division Jersey Hitmen Goaltender #33 Chris Funkey. Championship Winning Goalie in the 2013 EJHL league title, 1994 born Chris was nearly undefeated during the regular season with a 34-3 record heading into the playoffs. Back for a second stint, the surprisingly composed, poised, and “undersized” goaltender is quit the character in the locker room and is a veteran leader on his club. We are excited to welcome Chris Funkey to the Q5.
Q1: Let’s begin with what was likely the most exciting point of your career to date. The 2013 Eastern Junior Hockey league (EJHL, and now the USPHL Premier Division) Championship last season with the Jersey Hitmen. What was that 3 game series experience like?
A: The overall experience was unbelievable! The games were extremely intense, and we knew any play could have been crucial to the outcome of the series. The main thing that I noticed myself doing was not over emphasizing the fact that they were still just 60 minute hockey games we were playing. In previous years I had really amped myself up for the playoffs, and kind of psyched myself out, so to speak. This resulted in me not playing my best hockey. Last year I went into the playoffs and the finals with a totally different mindset. I was calm, I trusted in my training and my preparation, and I went into every contest knowing that if I “played my game” the end result would be the one I wanted. We ended up winning in three games and the experience was surreal, hands down the best moment of my career.
Q2: After years in Chicago with the Mission, you landed with the Hitmen last season. Now in your second year, what have you come to appreciate from Junior Hockey and what is the environment with the team like this year?
A: I think that Junior Hockey has helped me to mature a great deal as both a goaltender and a person. Living so far away from home, I have had to become much more responsible and disciplined to make sure that I am always on top of my game. Our team this year is full of hard working, character guys. Everyone comes to practice every day and works hard. We all push each other to be our best in practice so that when game time comes, we’re prepared for whatever the competition throws at us.
Q3: Structurally, you don’t over rely on technique to get the job done, more so you have built your success around a competitive battle mindset. How important is doing it the “right way” to you and what are you still building on within your game?
A: Playing fundamentally sound goaltending is rather important to me, but in the end my game is based around my ability to battle. Over the past few seasons, I have found that I care significantly less about looking “pretty” than I do about making sure the puck stays out of the net. Currently, I am working with goalie coach Ryan Honick on the right time/situation to implement both the VH and Reverse VH positions. In addition, Coach Honick and I have been working on my play when a puck is passed back door.
Q4: You have set your goals very high with a Division 1 College or bust mentality. What are the challenges of setting and reaching that particular goal?
A: I feel that I am capable of playing Division 1 College Hockey, and at the same time I realize the work that needs to be done in order for me to achieve that goal. I put in a very large amount of time in the weight room this past off season to get myself in much better physical condition coming into the 2013-14 campaign. The big challenge I face is not getting discouraged when I feel that I am not getting very much interest from schools. I feel staying positive, and working hard every time I step on the ice will help me get to where I want to be.
Q5: On your squad, you have the “double edged sword” of seeing fewer shots than the opposing goalie on any given night. While some thrive with less pressure to stop an onslaught, some goalies can easily struggle on a good team that gives up maybe 2 or 3 scoring chances per game behind a dominant D core. How do you manage this?
A: I manage it by preparing the same way before every game, so that I can play to the same standard consistently. I try to remain focused no matter what, even though this can become tough to do when the puck is predominantly down at the other end of the ice. The idea is to remain ready at all times, so when there is a scoring chance, I am not caught off guard.
Great replies Funk, we appreciate your time and best of luck defending the Dineen Cup this Spring! Follow the always comical Chris Funkey on Twitter @Funkininright33
Coach Honick is the Goaltending Consultant for the Jersey organization. Winning 3 League Championships in its 1st 10 seasons, the philosophy that the Premier team has instilled throughout the program has build recent success on each of its’ teams. Follow the Hitmen on Twitter at @NJHitmen
February 5, 2014
InGoal Magazine Coaching the Coaches
We are proud to announce the launch of a New Series of articles for InGoal Magazine titled “Coaching the Coaches”, written by Ryan Honick, GDI Southeast President / GDI EAST Director.
Jakaitis named Warrior ECHL Goalie of the Month for December
For the second time this season, South Carolina Stingrays and GDI Southeast affiliated goaltender Jeff Jakaitis has been named the ECHL Goaltender of the Month. This time for December, Jeff has won the award 4 times in his career, a league record. Jakaitis went 6-0-0 with two shutouts, a 1.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .966 in six appearances during December. Coach Honick is the Goaltending Consultant for the Stingrays this season. Congratulations Jeff and we look forward to seeing you this summer at the NDC: GDI EAST event.